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Cardinals Prepare For Next Chapter In Seahawks Rivalry

Teams have faced off in some epic showdowns over the years

WR Larry Fitzgerald during the 2016 slugfest that ended in a  6-6 tie.
WR Larry Fitzgerald during the 2016 slugfest that ended in a 6-6 tie.

In the locker room this week, tenured members of the Cardinals waxed poetic about the epic Seahawks clashes of yesteryear.

From 2013-16, these two franchises were among the best in the NFL, and the head-to-head showdowns rarely disappointed.

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has played in 237 regular season games and pinpoints the Cardinals' 17-10 win at Seattle in 2013 as the greatest of his career.

"That '12 year, getting beat 58-0 (in Seattle), was probably the most embarrassing time I've ever had in my entire career, as a professional," Fitzgerald said. "You just have somebody manhandle you like that and be embarrassed on national TV. That really stung. To have that taste and feeling in your mouth walking into that locker room, an then coming back the next year, and not only to beat them, but to beat them in a fashion that was indicative of what we were trying to do: physical, four-minute, downhill, you-know-what's-coming, we-imposed-our-will-on-you, that type of win.

"It wasn't like we spread them out and beat them like that. It was physical game, and Seattle with (coach) Pete Carroll has prided themselves on being a physically intimidating, dominating football team. They want a messy, grimy game like that. And to be able to beat them in that fashion in '13 was definitely the victory that stood out to me over my career."

Players like Fitzgerald, running back David Johnson, center A.Q. Shipley and defensive tackle Corey Peters have been around for many of those games, but at this point, the majority of the roster has one year or less of experience against the Seahawks.

Coach Kliff Kingsbury and rookie quarterback Kyler Murray will get their first taste of the rivalry on Sunday, in a game the Cardinals (0-2-1) badly need to win.

"I've got a bit of a feel for it, just asking some of the older guys that have been here awhile," Kingsbury said. "But I don't think, until you go through it, you really know what it's all about."

Carroll, quarterback Russell Wilson and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner remain the linchpins of the Seahawks, but the rest of the team looks much different from their heyday. The Legion of Boom is no more, with cornerback Richard Sherman in San Francisco, safety Earl Thomas in Baltimore and safety Kam Chancellor retired.

The Seahawks (2-1) may no longer be a juggernaut, but they made the playoffs in 2018 during a transition year and have designs of returning this season. The Cardinals haven't beaten the Seahawks at home since 2012. Doing so would be a welcome change for historical and present-day purposes.

"I think any time it's a divisional game, it's a big deal, and then also, us not having a win yet," Kingsbury said. "Guys are hungry to try to get over that hump."

Former Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer will be inducted into the team's Ring of Honor at halftime, which may have contributed to the nostalgia felt on both sides this week as many reminisced.

"Bruce (Arians) put together a really good team, and he was hard to deal with," Carroll said. "They were explosive, and they were aggressive. They were always ready to play. They had better times here; we had better times there. It's odd that it would be like that, but they were just good matchups year in and year out. It was a tough battle."

While there are many differences these days, another close game would not be a surprise to those that have been around the rivalry awhile.

"We bring the best out of each other," Johnson said. "It's a full game. It's always usually coming down to the wire."

Images from practice at the Dignity Health Arizona Cardinals Training Center

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